On the 6th March 2018 former Municipal Manager Mr. Lethole S.J delivered his CCMA documents to the municipality declaring a dispute as lodged with the commission. On the 9th April 2018 they squared up at the CCMA for conciliation. This strategic move sought to embolden his position that council has constructively dismissed him and therefore has to compensate him on the basis of certain provisions and as per conciliation procedures. In a nutshell he wanted to cosy the municipality to opt for a settlement which if accepted could have meant that he would then walk away with a golden bag.
The municipality was however resolute in its own position that Mr. Lethole has indeed flouted several rules and regulations especially as it relates to financial accounting procedures and failure to implement council resolutions. Council is of the view that it would be only congenial for the matter to be adequately engaged with in a proper forum instead of opting for a short route which would ultimately diminish his own infractions and thereby costing the municipality several thousands of rand if not millions.
As a result the matter ended in a stalemate and the commissioner had to refer it for arbitration. Both parties are now waiting for a court date to appear before an arbitration session. This therefore means that the municipality will continue to operate on an almost ad hoc basis at a strategic management level since it cannot hire a Manager until the matter is finalized. What is more interesting is the fact that certain of his dubious decisions are still under implementation regardless of their unlawfulness. For instance the waste removal truck contract is still in place despite the fact that one of the key charges is that Mr. Lethole flouted the rules in concluding the contract.
Furthermore council has made a resolution that the contract should be discontinued with immediate effect. However the truck is still rendering service and as such costing the municipality a lot of money. It may be that council is unable to ensure that its decisions are fully implemented or it shelved it for some unexplained reasons.
This matter will cost the municipality a lot of money given the nature of such processes. It is however hoped that if Mr. Lethole loses the case the municipality will then be in a position to recover some of the monies from him. If he wins the municipality will have to fork out a lot of money. Such a possibility will require a lot of gumption from council’s own legal advisors to ensure that the case is watertight. It is equally important that council should spread its corruption busting tentacles wider in order to bring to accountability those that were complicit to all that Mr. Lethole did wrongly and unlawfully.
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Politics & Governance